Thursday, March 14, 2013

Darth Vader 1977

While Brian A gets the Death Star out of dry dock and Brain B finds his Jedi robe I thought I would take this chance to sneak in a post and keep this Bantha Party rolling along! So, I give you non other than your's truly as Darth Vader (or Vadar) 1977!

Yes it was Halloween, and I was more than excited to don the cape and mask of the Dark Lord of the Sith. You have to note that the only part of the costume that is original is the mask. I wasn't too happy with the actual costume part of the costume. I mean would Darth Vader really walk around with a picture of himself on his chest?

I had to talk my mother into coming up with the rest of the costume from sketches, spy photos, newspaper clippings, and cloth swatches of my choosing. Many Bothans died to get all that reference.

Now Vader would not be complete without his lightsaber, so I am going to introduce to you a feat of Dad Engineering, a marvel if you will, non other than the first lightsaber to ever exist outside of a Star Wars movie... ever.

What we have here is a signal flashlight, complete with some D Cells, and a translucent golf bag tube, some elbow grease and a little tape and voila, a lightsaber! Funny part is no one to our knowledge had released any type of lightsaber, light sword, or light stick to cash in on the Star Wars juggernaut. Kenner certainly hadn't, I would have been on that faster than a flea on a Wookiee.

A little side story on the birth of the lightsaber. We were in a store and next to the golf tubes was the signal flash lights, my dad picked both up, sort of smiled and placed then in the shopping cart, I had no clue what he was up to, I mean he didn't golf and as far as I know we were not expecting to signal any aircraft in for a landing.

The damsel in distress in the photo is my mother, dad is on the camera, an uncle in the background, if I had to guess we were all going out to eat. A little pre Halloween celebration, and I was hoping that I could wear the Vader costume. I am sure I was disappointed and had to change... parents, jeez! 

Finally the big night, decorations... check, homemade coffin with ice cold hand hanging out... check, slightly intimidating Dark Lord of the Sith... um, check. Looking at this picture I look so small, but having been in that costume I felt like I was as big and tall as Vader himself.

This to me is what Star Wars was all about, creativity, imagination, fun. It still pretty much is.


  1. Great to see you still have these childhood pictures.

    Most of my Star Wars costuming was done alongside a record for "The Empire Strikes Back". I played Darth Vader and my brother played Luke - all the costumes were handmade (cardboard masks that were drawn). We owned two store-bought masks - one being a Stormtrooper and one being C-3PO. These were the standard Halloween type - with rubber bands. The 3PO one was particularly cool because it was somewhat see through but still opaque at the same time - I just remember looking at it closely just for that reason. Anyway, we had two downstairs girl neighbors (we lived in a 6-flat apartment building) who would play Leia and R2-D2. We had to swap and play all the other roles as well as the record would play - Han, Chewie, Yoda, etc. I remember I would play the Taun-Taun (made out of old blankets) as my brother played Han and he would lip-sync the "see ya in Hell" line. Our audience was out parents, who I think were fairly impressed with our creativity.

    Thanks for bringing back these memories!

  2. Dave, great story. I had two of the store bought masks myself, Vader and a Stormtrooper. I always wanted the full helmets they would advertise in the back of Starlog magazine. Those were magic times.

  3. Great story and it's cool you have pictures from back in the day. I wish I had photos like that to share. Kudos to your Dad for creating that light saber. Way too cool.